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USFL used MIT-developed, AI-powered Perch weight room technology for training and injury prevention

By

tom friend


The fledgling USFL credits the AI-powered weightlifter Perch for helping its players train safer and more efficiently during its last inaugural spring season.

Developed by three former MIT students, Perch combines a compact 3D camera with machine learning to produce a foot-long device that calculates a weightlifter’s sets, reps, speed and power output. The product, consisting of a battery and a smart tablet, can be attached via Velcro to any weight rack, and once the user connects to the tablet, 3D technology can provide the athlete and their coaches with training data via mobile. phone or the web.

Prior to this final season, the Tech-conscious USFL first set up Perch on seven weight racks inside its basic training facility at the Birmingham (Alabama) Jefferson Convention Complex. All 400 players from all eight league teams congregated there and, using AI, were watched performing deadlifts, squats, bench presses and power cleans, among other things. Each player’s data was then stored and evaluated to help them plan future workouts that ideally help them stay healthy and more powerful.

Perch has been adopted by a growing number of teams and leagues, including the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, Orlando Magic of the NBA, Philadelphia Phillies of MLB, and LSU football. and SEC Kentucky Men’s Basketball. The smart weight rack is also used on military bases, high school weight rooms, and fitness centers.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of smart weightlifting products and gyms has increased as athletes return to gyms. The Tech Stars Indianapolis Sports Accelerator Framed EvenLiftwhich is based on artificial intelligence technology similar to Perch, and RepOne, which inserts sensors inside the weights. Dak Prescott backs smart home gym OxFitand former NFL star Vernon Davis invested in another smart home product JAXJOX.

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